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Thursday, August 18, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesAFRICAN LIBERATION DAY CELEBRATED

AFRICAN LIBERATION DAY CELEBRATED

The Rev. Ralph Collymore, in his invocation opening the ninth annual African Liberation Day ceremony, urged the community to "raise up a people who understand themselves."
A three-hour celebration was held Tuesday on the grounds of the Legislature on St. Thomas with multiple speakers and cultural entertainment to mark the day.
ALD is a Pan African celebration rooted in the First Conference of Independent African States held in 1958 in Accra, Ghana. According to the program, "eight African heads of states declared the 15th of April 'African Freedom Day' to reflect on the struggles of Africans striving to control, determine and shape their destinies." By 1963, "24 more African countries obtained independence from colonial rule and the 32 heads of state founding the Organization of African Unity in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia proclaimed 'African Liberation Day' on the 25th of May." In 1989, the VI Legislature proclaimed the third week in May as VI African Heritage Week in Act 5473. And in 1990, this African event was sponsored by the 18th Legislature, and has been held annually.
Prof. Gene Emanuel, hosted this year's ALD celebration. He "urged parents to get maps of Africa and teach their children about their roots." Akimyemi & Mariel Blake offered a prayer to our ancestors with a libation, "pouring liquid on the ground to honor special persons."
Entertainment featured the singing of the Virgin Islands Anthem and various popular African American adopted tunes. Simba Leonard, a young calypsonian sang about "calypso, the common ground for unification," and "after all, the major Caribbean rhythms are of Africa." Lloyd "Renegade" Renne sang his calypsos "Stand-up Black Woman" and "The Black Man."
The Joseph Gomez Bamboula Dancers, consisting of 17 young girls dressed in muslin, backed by four drummers and a flute player, did a cultural dance which did an excellent job stimulating the audience. Unfortunately, the sound technicians destroyed the traditional motif by placing microphones in front of the drums and flute.
Iselene Hennessey and her assorted volunteers put on a fashion show of some 19 exciting contemporary and traditional African costumes. Of special note were several men's ensembles of an open weave material with a spectacular subtle design shown with distinction by Sen. Donald Cole.
Latifah Chinnery-Nadir, PhD spoke to the importance of economic power. Her remarks were based on teaching children consumer economics, encouraging adults to experience business, and keeping money circulating by purchasing goods and services from local venders.
The keynote speaker was Lumumba Amen of the local Pan African Support Group. Amen emphasized "Africa is the mother, and Pan Africans look as children to the health of the mother." He went on to assert that "the 5th National Congress declared capitalism is contrary to the African Culture. Capitalism is individualistic, while the African culture is collective. While Amen was speaking, the 30 or so attendees were joined by another 30 or so members of the American Federation of Teachers marching on Government House and the Legislature campaigning against the Prosser agreement.
Sen. Adelbert M. "Bert" Bryan offered closing remarks. He was most disturbed that Virgin Islanders who are, in his estimation, true Africans, would waste time celebrating insignificant days such as 4th of July and Transfer Day, while ignoring the African celebration of ALD. This was a theme iterated by many of the speakers who felt that Transfer Day simply celebrated the transfer between one master to another.

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The Rev. Ralph Collymore, in his invocation opening the ninth annual African Liberation Day ceremony, urged the community to "raise up a people who understand themselves."
A three-hour celebration was held Tuesday on the grounds of the Legislature on St. Thomas with multiple speakers and cultural entertainment to mark the day.
ALD is a Pan African celebration rooted in the First Conference of Independent African States held in 1958 in Accra, Ghana. According to the program, "eight African heads of states declared the 15th of April 'African Freedom Day' to reflect on the struggles of Africans striving to control, determine and shape their destinies." By 1963, "24 more African countries obtained independence from colonial rule and the 32 heads of state founding the Organization of African Unity in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia proclaimed 'African Liberation Day' on the 25th of May." In 1989, the VI Legislature proclaimed the third week in May as VI African Heritage Week in Act 5473. And in 1990, this African event was sponsored by the 18th Legislature, and has been held annually.
Prof. Gene Emanuel, hosted this year's ALD celebration. He "urged parents to get maps of Africa and teach their children about their roots." Akimyemi & Mariel Blake offered a prayer to our ancestors with a libation, "pouring liquid on the ground to honor special persons."
Entertainment featured the singing of the Virgin Islands Anthem and various popular African American adopted tunes. Simba Leonard, a young calypsonian sang about "calypso, the common ground for unification," and "after all, the major Caribbean rhythms are of Africa." Lloyd "Renegade" Renne sang his calypsos "Stand-up Black Woman" and "The Black Man."
The Joseph Gomez Bamboula Dancers, consisting of 17 young girls dressed in muslin, backed by four drummers and a flute player, did a cultural dance which did an excellent job stimulating the audience. Unfortunately, the sound technicians destroyed the traditional motif by placing microphones in front of the drums and flute.
Iselene Hennessey and her assorted volunteers put on a fashion show of some 19 exciting contemporary and traditional African costumes. Of special note were several men's ensembles of an open weave material with a spectacular subtle design shown with distinction by Sen. Donald Cole.
Latifah Chinnery-Nadir, PhD spoke to the importance of economic power. Her remarks were based on teaching children consumer economics, encouraging adults to experience business, and keeping money circulating by purchasing goods and services from local venders.
The keynote speaker was Lumumba Amen of the local Pan African Support Group. Amen emphasized "Africa is the mother, and Pan Africans look as children to the health of the mother." He went on to assert that "the 5th National Congress declared capitalism is contrary to the African Culture. Capitalism is individualistic, while the African culture is collective. While Amen was speaking, the 30 or so attendees were joined by another 30 or so members of the American Federation of Teachers marching on Government House and the Legislature campaigning against the Prosser agreement.
Sen. Adelbert M. "Bert" Bryan offered closing remarks. He was most disturbed that Virgin Islanders who are, in his estimation, true Africans, would waste time celebrating insignificant days such as 4th of July and Transfer Day, while ignoring the African celebration of ALD. This was a theme iterated by many of the speakers who felt that Transfer Day simply celebrated the transfer between one master to another.